“All Good Things…” is the series finale of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
It comprises the 25th and 26th episodes of the seventh season and is the 177th and 178th episodes of the series overall.
The title is derived from the expression “All good things must come to an end”, a phrase used by the character Q during the episode itself.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. The plot involves Captain Jean-Luc Picard jumping through time and the formation of an anomaly that defies causality, the whole situation being a test that allows Picard to demonstrate human potential to the Q Continuum by making an intuitive jump of thought to understand the cause of, and how to eliminate, the anomaly before it destroys humanity.
The finale was generally well received, and marked the transition of the cast to films featuring the show’s cast and settings, as well as passing the television audience to Star Trek spin-offs based on similar settings to The Next Generation.
Capt. Jean-Luc Picard inexplicably finds his mind jumping among three points in time: the present (stardate 47988); just prior to the starship USS Enterprise-D’s first mission during the episode “Encounter at Farpoint“, seven years earlier; and over twenty-five years into the future, where an aged Picard has retired to the family vineyard in La Barre, France. These jumps occur without warning, and the resulting discontinuity in Picard’s behaviour leaves him and those around him confused.
In the present, Picard is ordered to take the Enterprise to the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone to investigate a spatial anomaly. In the future, he convinces his ex-wife, Dr. Beverly Picard, to take him on the USS Pasteur to find the anomaly. In the past, despite having Enterprise’s mission to Farpoint Station cancelled by Starfleet to investigate the anomaly, Picard insists on continuing, believing the impending encounter with the omnipotent being Q to be more important. After reaching the place where he had first encountered Q and finding nothing there, Picard enters his ready room, only to find himself in Q’s courtroom.
Q reveals that the trial that had begun seven years ago, had never concluded, and the current situation is humanity’s last chance to prove themselves to the Q Continuum, but secretly reveals that he himself is the cause of Picard’s time jumping. Q challenges Picard to solve the mystery of the anomaly, cryptically stating that Picard will destroy humanity.
As Picard arrives at the anomaly in all three time periods, he discovers that the anomaly is much larger in the past, but does not exist at all in the future. As the past and present Enterprises scan the anomaly with inverse tachyon pulse beams, the Pasteur is attacked by Klingon ships, but the crew is saved due to the timely arrival of the Enterprise under the command of Admiral William Riker.
Q once again appears to Picard and takes him to Earth four billion years ago, where the anomaly, growing larger as it moves backwards in time, has taken over the whole of the Alpha Quadrant and has prevented the formation of life on Earth. When Picard returns to the future, he discovers the anomaly has appeared, created as a result of his orders, and the tachyon pulses from the three eras are sustaining it. Data and Geordi determine that they can stop the anomaly by having all three Enterprises fly into the centre of it and create static warp shells. Picard relays the orders to each Enterprise. Each ship suffers catastrophic damage, with Q telling the future Picard that “all good things must come to an end” just before the future Enterprise explodes.
Picard finds himself facing Q in the courtroom as before. Q congratulates Picard for being able to think in multiple timelines simultaneously to solve the puzzle, which is proof that humanity can still evolve, much to the surprise of the Q Continuum. Q admits to helping Picard to solve it with the time jumping since he was the one that put them in this situation, and then goes on to explain that the anomaly never actually existed and that his past and present have been restored. He then withdraws from the courtroom and bids farewell to Picard by saying “See you … out there”. Picard then returns to the Enterprise of the present, no longer jumping through time.
As the senior staff plays their regular poker game, they reflect on the details of the future the captain related to prevent them from drifting apart. For the first time, Picard decides to join the game, expressing regret he had not done so before.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Winrich Kolbe.
- Writer(s): Brannon Braga and Ronald. D. Moore.
- Release Date: 23 May 1994.
- Running Time: 105 minutes (total running time).
- Country: US.
- Language: English.